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THE ELUSIVE INDIAN"                                     15
are among the true aristocrats of India ; they are virile aixd elean-
liviiig, swift of brain and body. And in the teaching of Nanak,1
their first Guru, they have a divinely inspired philosophy. Nanak
scourged the Hindu Brahmins as Christ scourged the Pharisees,
crying... * Thou bathest and vrashest and worshippest stones, but
without being imbued with God thou art the filthiest of the filthy/
In words of unforgettable force he trumpeted the power of God—
('He can appoint a worm to sovereignty, and reduce an army to
ashes5)—and the sufficiency of His love—('If it please Thee, rivers
flow over dry land and the lotus bloometh in the heavens ; if
it please Thee, man crosseth the terrible ocean; in Thee I shall
dwell in peace, to dwell in Thee is all I wish/) He was a true
mystic, but he was also a man of the people and his teaching, with
its simple metaphors of everyday life, burned deep into the peasant
heart.. .('Evil-mindedness is a low woman; cruelty a butcher's;
wife; covetousness is a dog, food obtained by deceit carrion,.
anger the fire which burns.5)2
But their very devotion to the memory of their great prophet
makes of the 5 million Sikhs a race apart. They have never
forgotten that they were persecuted by the Moguls, and that the
treacherous Emperor Aurungzeb killed the ninth Guru for his
refusal to embrace the faith of Islam. Their hostility to the
Muslims makes them implacable enemies of the drearn Empire
of Pakistan, for if the dream were ever realized, the Sikhs* who
nearly all live in the Punjab, would find themselves hopelessly
isolated and outnumbered, a tiny island of the faithful surrounded
by a sea of foes/
* 6If you grant Pakistan/ they cry, 'we shall set up a separate
feikh State of our own. We shall call it Khalistan,, and we shall
defend it to the death/
Civis Indianus sum.. .if we ever find any Indians who say those
words with real sincerity, without hypocrisy and withotit any
thought of self-interest, it will not be the Sikhs.
So shall we give it up ? Shall we lie back and watch the fire-
flies gathering in the branches of the tamarind, lighting it up with
i Born 1469, died 1546.
3 Thus spoke Guru Nandk, compiled by Six Jogendra Singh (Oxford University